NC beats Eas­ton, QA

Bull­dogs strug­gle might­ily at free-throw line, but tip cold-shoot­ing War­riors

Times-Record - - Front Page - By DAVID INSLEY dins­ley@star­dem.com

RIDGELY — North Caro­line’s boys’ bas­ket­ball team im­proved to 7-5 over­all and 7-2 in the North Bay­side af­ter wins over Eas­ton and Queen Anne’s.

The Bull­dogs de­feated Eas­ton 56-52 Thurs­day, Jan. 19, and knocked off the Lions 74-61 on Mon­day, Jan. 23.

RIDGELY — Usu­ally, a team find­ing it­self in a tight game doesn’t come out on top shoot­ing 28 per­cent (7 for 25) from the free-throw line.

But when one’s op­po­nent shoots around 30 per­cent from the floor, you have what hap­pened to the North Caro­line High boys’ bas­ket­ball team Thurs­day against long­time ri­val Eas­ton.

The Bull­dogs led from the first bucket to the last to com­plete a reg­u­lar-sea­son sweep of the War­riors with a 56-52 tri­umph. It was North Caro­line’s sixth straight reg­u­lar-sea­son win over Eas­ton, which last won Feb. 6, 2014, in a 67-34 blowout.

“We work on free throws ev­ery prac­tice — ever y sin­gle prac­tice we do them,” Bull­dogs head coach Steve Perry said af­ter his team im­proved to 6-4 over­all, 6-2 North Bay­side. “Tonight, I don’t know what we were do­ing. We just couldn’t hit any.”

The Bull­dogs, who had more misses than hits in the teams’ first meet­ing last month, came out much bet­ter on Thurs­day night. Six points in the paint by Ken­dron Way­man (10 points, eight re­bounds), pow­ered the Bull­dogs’ 15-5 first-pe­riod run.

Eas­ton (6-6, 6-4), de­spite pick­ing up three turnovers from half-court pres­sure, turned the ball over four times, miss­ing ever ything from the floor but two Jae­don Cop­per shots, one a tip-in fol­low.

“We just shot so cold,” Eas­ton head coach Dionte Hyn­son said. “And we got in a big hole too early, and then we had to fight to get out of it.

“They were mak­ing plays right when they had to,” Hyn­son said of Caro­line. “When we’d get some mo­men­tum they’d make a cou­ple of big shots.”

The War­riors picked up the pace in the sec­ond quar­ter, though. Af­ter Caro­line re­serve guard Ty­nese Warner (six points) sank a shot to make it 17-5, 36 ticks into the sec­ond pe­riod, Eas­ton went on a run.

Justin Fen­wick (13 points, 10 re­bounds) got things go­ing with a layup at the 6:57 mark, and an­other 23 sec­onds later. His eight points in the quar­ter helped Eas­ton nar­row the gap to five points mid­way through it, but North Caro­line re­sponded, four dif­fer­ent play­ers scor­ing to stretch the lead to 27-18 at in­ter­mis­sion.

Just be­fore the half ended, though, the Bull­dogs suf­fered a po­ten­tially huge in­jur y. Adams, driv­ing to the rack with 1:45 left in the sec­ond, went down hard and stayed there for a cou­ple of min­utes as he was at­tended by his

coach and the school’s ath­letic trainer. Though Adams left the court un­der his own power, he re­mained on the bench for the re­main­der of the game.

The War­riors couldn’t cap­i­tal­ize on the Bull­dogs’ loss of their lead­ing scorer, though. Re­place­ment point men Mon­treyse Deshields and Warner, who com­bined for just four sec­ond-half points, got just enough done against Eas­ton’s in­ter­mit­tent full-court pres­sure.

Com­bined with the ath­leti­cism of 2-3 men David Bai­ley, Cameron Brown, and Mike Daniels, and ro­tat­ing in­sid­ers Ja’Mion Franklin, Way­man, and Jaden Fitch­ett, Caro­line stretched its lead to as much as 14 points be­fore Eas­ton nar­rowed it to 45-36 by the end of the third.

Though the Bull­dogs — who shot just two free throws in the sec­ond half of a dou­ble-digit road loss to North front-run­ner Kent County on Tues­day — got 16 tries from the foul line af­ter the break Thurs­day night, they sank just five. North Caro­line clanged its first six, and five of its last six free throws.

“It was tough try­ing to hold them off with­out a point guard when Joey went out,” Perry said. “Warner got in there and gave us some points late, and Mon­treyse came in and hus­tled. And the bigs man­aged to keep it kind of even.”

Eas­ton came on per­haps its strong­est in the fourth. Af­ter Brown put the home team up 53-41 on a buck­e­tand-1 with 4:17 to go, Ryan Farr, 1-for-6 from long range through three quar­ters, hit his sec­ond three-poin­ter.

Af­ter Chris Guy of Eas­ton pulled down a de­fen­sive board fol­low­ing a failed Bai­ley layup at­tempt, Farr laid in an­other bucket to cut the Bull­dog lead to seven.

T.J. Nixon (eight points) put back a team­mate’s miss with 2:43 to go, and sud­denly, the War­riors were down by just five points. It re­mained 53-48, Caro­line, for nearly two tense min­utes.

Way­man bopped in a Warner miss with 45 sec­onds left to give Caro­line breath­ing room at 55-48 But Cop­per (12 points) took a Guy feed for a layup 11½ sec­onds later to make it 55-50. Cop­per then put back a Farr miss with 15.5 sec­onds to go, mak­ing it 55-52, Bull­dogs.

Daniels, fouled with 9.7 sec­onds, gave the hosts a lit­tle breath­ing room by hit­ting the sec­ond of the en­su­ing pair of free throws.

Bring the ball quickly down­court, Eas­ton needed a 4-point play to tie it. Af­ter los­ing a long shot out of bounds, the War­riors got fresh life when Bai­ley made a rare men­tal er­ror. On the in­bounds pass which came af­ter the Eas­ton shot bounced out of bounds, Bai­ley did some­thing a player is al­lowed to do only af­ter the op­po­si­tion makes a field goal — he ran up the base­line, look­ing for a tar­get for his pass.

The ac­tion, a travel un­der the rules, re­sulted in a quick whis­tle and turnover with 3.9 sec­onds left.

But the War­riors’ in­bounds was tipped, trick­led al­most to the far base­line, and time ran out be­fore they could get a han­dle on it.

“I was telling them to shoot a three, and then go from there, but we couldn’t even do that,” Hyn­son said. “We threw it to the back­board, but then we turned the ball over.”

“David doesn’t usu­ally make that kind of mis­take,” Perry said. “But it hap­pens. You get ex­cited, close game, ri­val game, and you don’t think it through. We won, and they didn’t score on it.”

The Bull­dogs are sched­uled to make up last Satur­day’s game at Dover, Del., tonight at 7 p.m.. North Caro­line plays at Kent Is­land on Mon­day at 6:30 p.m. Eas­ton will host North Dorch­ester on Tues­day at 5:30 p.m.

PHOTO BY DUSTIN HOLT

North Caro­line Cam­eran Brown sinks a fade-away jumper against Eas­ton Thurs­day, Jan. 19.

PHOTO BY DUSTIN HOLT

North Caro­line’s Tay Potts drives and scores against Eas­ton Thurs­day, Jan. 19.

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